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Dec. 1, 2003

Virginia Director of Athletics Craig Littlepage:
Late last night we received a call, extending us a bid to the Continental Tire Bowl to play the University of Pittsburgh. Obviously we are delighted to accept the bid to play in the 2003 Continental Tire Bowl. Coach Groh, I would like to congratulate you and the team. On behalf of the University of Virginia, we are extremely pleased to have the opportunity to extend our season. A fitting tribute to the team and the coaching staff that did such a great job in sustaining their effort through the duration of the season, in particular, the last two weeks, with strong performances against Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech. This is another opportunity to move the program forward, and as I have said, we are delighted to have the opportunity to go back to the Continental Tire Bowl.

One of the things that is going to be key in this situation for us, is for our fans to continue on last year’s great success in terms of turn out and support for the team. In contrast to last year’s game, West Virginia was out in front in terms of ticket sales, and our fans certainly stepped up to the plate. This year I’d like to see us in the lead position in ticket sales.

The great thing is now our fans have an understanding of how great of a time it was. That should be a springboard for even more fans this year. We had a fantastic time from the moment the players and staff arrived in Charlotte through the checkout. Everything was done in a first-class manner. The bowl itself, I think, is going to step up and do even more things than they did a year ago in their first effort.

Virginia Head Football Coach Al Groh:
Last year we had slightly over 20,000 fans. We have a goal of 30,000 fans this year. Every aspect of support for the team this year, whether student-body support, alumni support and our great fans in general, has been intensified. That was demonstrated at the first game of the season and quite apparent yesterday (vs. Virginia Tech). I think 30,000 is a very realistic goal to achieve.

On this year’s match up against Pittsburgh
This is just like last year’s match up–it’s going to be very competitive. This is a match-up that’s going to mean something to the two teams involved. It has some marquee players–Certainly one of the best quarterbacks in the county in Matt Schaub and they have an outstanding quarterback (Rod Rutherford). I haven’t seen the All-Big East team, but if their quarterback isn’t the All-Big East quarterback, a lot of people would make the argument that he should be. They obviously have the premier wide receiver in the country in Larry Fitzgerald. I think it will be a very good match-up with a lot of marquee players. It will capture a great market and we feel very comfortable going down there. We had a great experience in that city leading up to the game last year. The City of Charlotte really embraced us as the ACC team. We would like for Charlotte to be the Virginia town again. We liked everything about it.

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